Most of the time, my self-esteem is pretty nonexistent. I have a hard time looking in the mirror and seeing something other than a collection of flaws and imperfections. Since becoming a mom, I've found that it's too easy to feel less than perfect. Cue my last pregnancy — a dumpster fire from start to finish. By the end of that 40 weeks I felt like the exact opposite of a badass. You wouldn't have noticed, though, if you saw the ways my husband showed me he was in awe of me during childbirth.
The way my partner was engaged, supportive, and encouraging during childbirth made such a huge difference. When I saw his version of me reflected back in his eyes, I saw a beautiful, capable, rock star, warrior goddess who was totally going to conquer labor and childbirth, no matter what. From the moment I was induced und until I finally stopped pushing, he was there, encouraging me with his words, stolen glances, hand-holding, and advocating for me with the medical staff. I knew I could bring our baby into the world, even though there were more than a few moments when I felt like giving up. I honestly don’t know if I could’ve done it without him. Well, I could have, but it would have completely sucked.
When I ask my partner about it, though, he doesn't see his actions as anything out of the ordinary. It was what I deserved, and what all laboring parents deserve as they approach labor and delivery. Labor is awe-inspiring, and good partners find little ways to relay that message, like the following: